Church is central to us encouraging each other and looking forward together to what God has in store for us in the future. Yes it’s true, spending time in the barn doesn’t make you a cow. We see today, though, that Joash’s demise started with abandoning the temple…
15 Now Jehoiada was old and full of years, and he died at the age of a hundred and thirty. 16 He was buried with the kings in the City of David, because of the good he had done in Israel for God and his temple.
17 After the death of Jehoiada, the officials of Judah came and paid homage to the king, and he listened to them. 18 They abandoned the temple of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and worshiped Asherah poles and idols. Because of their guilt, God’s anger came on Judah and Jerusalem. 19 Although the Lord sent prophets to the people to bring them back to him, and though they testified against them, they would not listen.
20 Then the Spirit of God came on Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest. He stood before the people and said, “This is what God says: ‘Why do you disobey the Lord’s commands? You will not prosper. Because you have forsaken the Lord, he has forsaken you.’”
21 But they plotted against him, and by order of the king they stoned him to death in the courtyard of the Lord’s temple. 22 King Joash did not remember the kindness Zechariah’s father Jehoiada had shown him but killed his son, who said as he lay dying, “May the Lord see this and call you to account.”
23 At the turn of the year, the army of Aram marched against Joash; it invaded Judah and Jerusalem and killed all the leaders of the people. They sent all the plunder to their king in Damascus. 24 Although the Aramean army had come with only a few men, the Lord delivered into their hands a much larger army. Because Judah had forsaken the Lord, the God of their ancestors, judgment was executed on Joash. 25 When the Arameans withdrew, they left Joash severely wounded. His officials conspired against him for murdering the son of Jehoiada the priest, and they killed him in his bed. So he died and was buried in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings.
Jehoiada was buried with kings because of the good he had done for God and his temple. We kinda thought this would happen. Jehoiada was the one who was keeping Joash on the straight and narrow. He was the reason that Judah was following God from the time he installed Joash as king until now.
And then the wheels fell off.
The leaders of Judah were obviously only paying lip service to the Lord and Jehoiada the priest during this time. As soon as Jehoiada was out of the picture, they influenced Joash to abandon the temple of the Lord. Let’s think about this in a modern context. We are encouraged to value the assembly of God’s people together in church (Hebrews 10:25).
Church is central to us encouraging each other in the Lord and in looking forward together to what God has in store for us in the future. And by the way, our chances of personal purity and righteousness and that of our kids goes up the more we are committed to church and everything it means.
Yes it’s true, spending time in the barn doesn’t make you a cow. There is more to devotion to God than crossing the threshold of church. Forsaking church, however, leads us in the wrong direction…
Once Joash was convinced to abandon temple, they started to worship idols. God even sent messengers to warn them, yet they kept finding reasons to justify their behaviour and ignore God’s voice. In the case of Joash, he was so fickle and evil that he put Zechariah (Jehoiada’s son) to death for bringing God’s prophecy to him. Joash was past the point of no return.
God brought an Aramean invasion in which all the leaders of Judah were killed. Joash was wounded, and his own officials finished him off. They were incensed that he had killed Zechariah. And unlike Jehoiada, the priest who was buried with kings, the king Joash was buried outside the royal tombs. He didn’t finish well, and he let himself be swayed from his devotion to God by others and his own hard heart.
To whom are you listening? And how committed are you to a local congregation of other followers of Jesus? Your own future depends on your actions today.